For the past four years, Alrick Powell, a student of Dinthill High School in St. Catherine, has had to live with the fact of his father, with whom he shared a very close relationship, being in a vegetative state.
That resulted from the elder Powell developing complications after undergoing surgery at a hospital in Kingston, where he has remained for treatment.
But the challenge, though painful, did not deter the young man from attaining seven distinctions and two credits in subjects sat during the 2018/19 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
The Linstead, St Catherine resident earned distinctions in English Language, Mathematics, Economics, Information Technology, Principles of Business, Principles of Accounts, and Office Administration, as well as grade two in Social Studies and Spanish.
According to Alrick, despite the very difficult situation being experienced, in May when he sat the exams, all that was on his mind was acing those tests so that he could bring some joy to his mother and good news for his father.
“I wanted to ensure that, after doing the exam, there would be a smile on my mother’s face, and I wanted to make sure that she had something good to report to my father when she went to visit him,” he says.
Not only did Alrick perform exceptionally well in his exams, he also topped eight of his nine subjects in Dinthill High’s mock examinations and, during his graduation, walked away with 13 awards including the prize for ‘Top Boy’ and a cash award from the school’s Florida Chapter Alumni in the United States.
The other awards were for eight of the nine subjects (excluding Mathematics), and also Top Business Student, Top Business Student in Work Experience, and Distinction in Business.
Alrick, who is now in his first year in sixth form at Dinthill, highlights his relationship with his father.
“My father and I were extremely close… He was very protective of me; he wouldn’t let me go anywhere without supervision,” he tells JIS News.
Consequently, Alrick says it has been extremely difficult coping with his father’s condition, which, along with other factors, resulted in him not making the honour roll while in fifth form. Prior to that, he had been an honour roll student since grade seven.
But the self-taught piano player, whose love for music equals his passion for computer science, says he could not let the situation hinder him from achieving success.
“It was rough. There have been times when I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t allow the situation to distract me from going after my goal, which was to succeed in my exams.
“I tried my best not to focus on the fact that he has brain damage, but that he is still alive and can hear of my achievements; so I wanted to make him proud,” adds the mannerable young man, who noted that this is not his first experience with distressing situations.
Alrick shares that, when he was much younger, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and, for many years, he feared losing her. But thankfully she is an 11-year survivor.
“I see myself as a strong person, who has learned how to adapt to various situations, despite their being painful,” he declares.
The enterprising Alrick says he plans to establish a record label and computer repair and maintenance company.
Prior to that, he intends to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Music Studies at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston.
Meanwhile, Alrick encourages fellow students to continually strive for their goals, despite the odds.
“Whatever goals you have, no matter the situation, nothing can stop you from achieving. Determination is the key!” he emphasised.
By Tanesha Mundle, Jamaica Information Service
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